UNESCO announced the global host cities for International Jazz Day (IJD) in 2018 and 2019. St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation will host the 2018 IIJD festivities, with Sydney hosting in Australia in 2019. The event takes place on the last day of April and coincides with numerous performances and special events in nearly 200 countries across the globe, all centered on celebrating the legacy of jazz. Recent global host cities for International Jazz Day have been Havana, Washington, DC, Osaka, Paris and Istanbul. The global host city presents a major concert featuring UNESCO Ambassador Herbie Hancock and other international jazz stars.
St. Petersburg (also known as Leningrad from 1924 until 1991) has its own particular jazz history. In 1927 the “First Concert Hall Jazz Band” appeared in the concert hall of the St. Petersburg State Capella, and later in 1929 the country’s first jazz collective was created. St. Petersburg also is home to the Jazz Philharmonic Hall, which was founded in 1989. The IJD performances and events will take place at various venues throughout St. Petersburg, including the Mariinsky Theatre. Noted Russian saxophonist Igor Butman was instrumental in the application for St. Petersburg to host IJD and also is organizing an international jazz conference there called Jazz Across Borders as part of St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum, to be held in November.
In 2019, the All Star Global Concert will be held in the famous Sydney Opera House, along with a program of “Jazz in Squares” around the city with school bands and jazz combos. Other cities in Australia, such as Adelaide and Mount Gambier, will also participate in the day’s events.